National retail and restaurant spending jumped dramatically in May as stores and dining began to reopen across parts of the country during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a preliminary sales report from the US Commerce Department released Tuesday.
May sales were projected at $485.5 billion, a 17.7% jump from April. But those numbers were still 6.1% below what they were last May, noted the report, which relied on surveys given to about 5,500 retail and food service companies in the United States.
Still, Jaime Ward, the Boston-based head of retail finance for Citizens Bank, remained heartened by last month’s improvement. “That pent-up demand is driving this,” he said, adding that some customers could have used stimulus checks to go shopping. “Part of it is (that) growth is coming off a really low-level month before.”
States in the South and Midwest began to reopen before those in the Northeast that had contended with an ongoing barrage of coronavirus cases. It’s “revenge shopping,” Ward said. “Payback for being cooped up for two months. They want to go out and do some things they’ve been denied…” The Daily Item